artist interviews

jess kaitlan

twenty two, they/she

what is your art form?

visual art, performing and occasionally writing! currently exploring digital art and animation!

what do you do and why do you do it?

i mainly create visual art pieces (paintings/drawings) as well as perform in theatre. the main reason i do this, and any other art i partake in in general, is to express myself; to release any thoughts, feelings, or emotions i’m incapable of getting out in any other way. art offers a comfort that not much else can. the other main reason i create is to connect with others. connecting with those who gain happiness from the same things i do, but also connection through understanding and feeling less alone. i thrive off of being able to allow others to feel. i know that, if i can get someone to feel through art i’ve created, i can trust that they understand some part of my art or the emotions i put into it. even if it’s only a little bit.

i also just create because it’s what i enjoy, and always have since i was younger. a love for the arts comes naturally to me and is something i’ve always been inclined to persue!

who/what has inspired you in your artistic practice and why?

who inspires me are the people who encourage me to create; the people who trust in my abilities and have always nudged me in the direction they know i want to go in. it’s the what that drives me more, though. i think the ability to capture something in the world that is so raw and beautiful is what inspires me. when you find everything to be so daunting and difficult to navigate in the world, being able to create something so touching as well as visually/verbally stunning is a reminder that the world can still be magical if you look in the right places.

what do you think your role is as an artist? has anything stopped you from fulfilling this role?

i believe my role as an artist is to share. to use what i create as a tool to bring people joy/comfort. also to entertain! what, if anything, has stopped me, it’s all in the next question, “what have been the biggest challenges in your artistic journey?”

what have been the biggest challenges in your artistic journey?

1. perfectionism: the desire to create only the best puts pressure on me to either do amazing, or throw it all away. the belief i’ve instilled in myself that if i’m not a prodigy, i’m not worth it, has been such a detriment to my desire to pursue the arts.

2. fear: fear that what i create is either not good enough or just not enough for other people. fear that others lie when they say my art is worth something. fear that my art would never go anywhere or that it would never reach people the way i want it to. the list could genuinely go on.

3. motivation: tied with perfectionism, i tend to procrastinate any artistic endeavours because i worry i won’t do well. after all, how can i disappoint myself/others and prove i’m not a worthy artist if i just never create? i lack the skills to start projects without a deadline, but deadlines also make me incredibly anxious.

do you believe that good art comes from turmoil and suffering, or is that a romantic notion?

i believe that good art can come from suffering, but i don’t believe it’s the be-all and end-all. there’s certainly a danger in creating art that comes purely from one’s suffering, since you’re constantly surrounded by that hurt, but i also think art is a powerful way of giving yourself either a freedom, control, or solace in finding ways to convey that suffering through your art.

amazing art also comes from what someone finds to be so beautiful and pure in the world. happiness fuels a different kind of creativity and i think both should be expressed in art. humans are complex and hold many emotions: good/meaningful art touches souls, whether it’s from suffering or joy.

how do you feel your age impacts your experience as an artist?

i do think the older i get, the more i experience and understand. this constant growing, learning and experiencing is also constant inspiration and desire to create.

there is a fear that, with my struggle to motivate myself to pursue the arts, there are others who will be far more passionate and skilled than i could be. when those people are younger than me, that further instills a fear that i’m behind or that i don’t deserve to call myself an artist when those younger than me are already doing so much more than myself.

what about your gender/race/sexuality/disability etc.?

i don’t really think much about that, but i suppose it impacts how i view certain things that i desire to create art out of. without disclosing much about my personal life, my experiences in the world aren’t necessarily the same as many, so i’m lucky enough to get to explore a whole different side of my creativity through my unique and personal experiences: to possibly connect and bring comfort to others who may feel as if they are alone.

when it comes to art, what would you tell your younger self?

to keep creating. to not fear messing up or your art not being good enough because that’s the whole point of creating. not everything is gonna be perfect but all art you create will be meaningful to you. and as long as you’re enjoying creating, others opinions on your art and dreams don’t matter. you’re not creating art for other people. it’s because you enjoy it. so screw it being an unreliable career path. it’s one that will make you love living regardless, so do what makes life worth it. create art to understand yourself and the world. and don’t stop.

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